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Houston Women Learn To Improve Gynecologic Health

Houston Women Learn To Improve Gynecologic Health
M. D. Anderson and Randalls promote
gynecologic cancer awareness
M. D. Anderson News Release 09/02/04

Female visitors to the pharmacy section of Randalls’ supermarkets during the month of September will receive free information cards with suggestions on improving gynecologic health and preventing common gynecologic cancers.

September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month and The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Randalls food stores urge all women to take a proactive role in maintaining their health by knowing the risk factors and symptoms of gynecologic cancers.

“It is important to be aware of symptoms and listen to your body,” stresses Diane Bodurka, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at M. D. Anderson. Partnerships with companies like Randalls provide valuable, educational opportunities, and health and well-being begins with each individual knowing their bodies and being aware.”

M. D. Anderson suggests the following important steps to help maintain gynecologic health:

  • Have an annual physical exam, including a vaginal and rectal exam and Pap test, even after menopause or hysterectomy
  • Know personal risk factors for gynecologic cancers
  • Discuss persistent symptoms with a physician
  • Remember that the Pap test only detects cervical cancer
  • Report any heavy, irregular or abnormal bleeding to a physician
  • Pay attention to your body

The most common gynecologic cancers include cancers of the ovaries, uterus and cervix.
According to the American Cancer Society, endometrial cancer, also known as uterine cancer, is the most common type of gynecologic cancer with more than 2,000 estimated new cases to be diagnosed in Texas this year. Common symptoms of endometrial cancer include bleeding after menopause, irregular vaginal bleeding before menopause and changes in bowel or bladder habits. 

More women die from ovarian cancer than any other gynecologic cancer primarily because, in most cases, it has already spread to other parts of the body at the time of diagnosis. Common symptoms of ovarian cancer include abdominal swelling and/or pain, bloating, persistent stomach discomfort, gas or nausea, frequency of urination, change in bowel habits, and unexplained weight gain or loss.

Cervical cancer is the only gynecologic cancer that can be detected with regular Pap tests. Common symptoms of cervical cancer include bleeding after intercourse, excessive vaginal discharge and abnormal bleeding between periods.

Dr. Bodurka reminds women that these symptoms do not always mean cancer, but if symptoms persist for more than two weeks, women should see their doctor.

For more information on gynecologic cancers, contact the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER or

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center